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Physical activity

Moving: The Best Weapon to Preserve Your Health Capital

To be beneficial, physical activity must be regular. It is essential to move every day! 

 

What is Physical Activity?

The WHO defines physical activity as "any bodily movement produced by the muscles that requires energy expenditure."

This includes sports, exercise, but also other activities such as play, walking, household chores, gardening, or dancing...

Key Figures

  • Physical inactivity is one of the 10 leading risk factors for mortality worldwide.
  • Globally, 23% of adults and 81% of school-going adolescents are not sufficiently physically active.
  • People with insufficient physical activity have a 20% to 30% increased risk of death compared to those who are sufficiently active.
  • 30 minutes of physical activity per day = 30% reduction in the risk of cardiovascular accidents.
     

Benefits of Physical Activity

IThey are very numerous, we will retain in particular that the physical activity:

  • improves musculature and cardiorespiratory performances
  • improves bone health

Regular physical activity reduces the risk of:

  •  hypertension
  • coronary heart disease
  • stroke
  • diabetes
  • depression
     

Physical activity is essential for energy balance, it reduces the risk of weight gain, overweight, and obesity.

Physical Activity and Cancers

The evaluation of the relationships between physical activity and several cancer locations has been the subject of several studies:

  • Physical activity is associated with a reduced risk of colon cancer. 17% reduction for the most physically active individuals compared to the least active. A dose-response effect has been demonstrated, indeed, the more the activity is important, the more the reduction of the risk is elevated.
  • Physical activity is also associated with a reduced risk of breast cancer. 20% reduction in this risk for the most active women compared to the least active.
  • A reduction in the risk of endometrial cancer (uterus) is also observed in women with physical activity (up to 27%).
  • A protective effect on lung cancer has also been shown.
     

The main mechanisms that could explain the beneficial effect of physical activity on the risk of cancers would be related to its effects on weight and adiposity (particularly abdominal), and on the circulating levels of various hormones and growth factors.

In addition, physical activity could specifically decrease the risk of colon cancer via the acceleration of intestinal transit, thus reducing the time of exposure of the digestive mucosa to food-borne carcinogens.

Practical Advice:

Develop your physical activity daily:

  • Walk at least 3000 steps per day or 30 minutes per day
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Get off the bus one stop earlier
  • Go eat outside or go get your lunch instead of having it delivered to your workplace. Getting some air and walking will do you a lot of good!

Avoid prolonged sitting: 

  • Stand up for 2-3 minutes every 2 hours, it's also an ergonomic advice!
  • Why not have a standing meeting?
     

At home, think about limiting screens. It's also an excellent example for our children!

  • Why not take the habit of going for a walk every evening instead of going directly to your couch?
  • Take advantage of the evening to do sports.
     

 

Références

who.int

fedecardio.org

e-cancer.fr

sante.public.lu